News

News

Montreal, 27 November 2021 - Many friends in Montreal neighbourhoods gathered to commemorate the centennial birthday of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, one of the central figures of the Bahá'í World Community.

The Friends of Saint-Laurent in partnership with the neighbourhood's Centre d'action bénévole et communautaire organized a teleconference meeting during which a donation of 11 digital tablets to support"L'ABC DES AÎNÉS" was offered to the Centre ABC. This tool is to enable our seniors to keep in touch with their family, to have access to online leisure activities (games, movies, music, etc.)

About 40 people including the Mayor of Saint-Laurent Alan de Sousa, members of the City Council, the Member of Parliament (federal) for Saint-Laurent, Mrs. Emmanuela Lambropoulos, the MNA, the Executive Director of the Centre d'action bénévole et communautaire as well as several other community organizations were present.

In his speech, Alan DeSousa, Montreal City Councillor and Mayor of Saint-Laurent, noted that "the powerful message of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the equality of the human race and universal peace has taken root throughout the world.”

"The Bahá'í Faith teaches us that we must be actively concerned with the needs of humanity," continued Mr. DeSousa. "I have seen this teaching move from words to reality, thanks to the dedication and service of the local Bahá'í Community, which has been active here since 1956." In such a diverse city, he noted, "we need to achieve a community of thought, spiritual ideals and vision that brings people together."

A varied program of music, video and a presentation on the life and charitable works of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was presented. During the testimonial period, one of the participants, Michel Atallah, whose family lived in 'Akká and Haifa area during the period of the Ottoman Empire, related the memories of their friendship with 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his family. This relationship lasted at least three generations in his family.

Another event in connection with the commemoration of the centennial of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing was a reception hosted by the National Spiritual Assembly. This intimate gathering, held at the Visitor Centre of the Montreal Bahá'í Shrine, was attended by an impressive number of dignitaries such as Most Rev. Christian Lépine , Archbishop of Montréal, professors from universities, religious organizations, the Human Rights Centre, City Councillor, and a professor from the Urbaniana University in Rome.

Originally from Persia, 'Abdu'l-Bahá spent most of His life as a prisoner and exile because of His Faith. In 1912, shortly after His release from the notorious Ottoman prison of ‘Akká, He came to Montreal at the age of 68 on a tour of North America, Europe and Egypt.

A well-known ambassador for peace in Europe and North America, 'Abdu'l-Bahá arrived in Montreal to draw the attention of the people of Canada to the vital and essential importance of cooperation among the world's inhabitants in order to stop a devastating war that soon afterwards ravaged humanity!

As a result of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit, the residence of architect William Sutherland Maxwell, located on Pine Avenue West in Montreal and itself designed by its owner, was designated the only Bahá'í Shrine in the West.

During His visit, He addressed thousands of people in various churches, lecture halls, and had personal meetings, including with Robert Stanley Weir, author of our national anthem "O Canada", Archbishop Paul Bruchési of Montreal, and the Rector of McGill University, Sir William Peterson.

"The apostle of peace", "the oriental sage", "the oriental seer" were some of the names given to Him by Montreal's English and French press in some 34 newspaper articles published during His nine-day visit.

"He spoke to various audiences about the oneness of religion, the eradication of prejudice, the equality of women and men, science and religion, the search for truth and economic justice. He warned, prophetically, of the imminence of war in Europe.

In 1912, the New York Times quoted 'Abdu'l-Bahá as saying, "The time has come for mankind to raise the banner of the oneness of the human world, so that dogmatic precepts and superstitions may end."

These are some of the principles that the community in and around Montreal is striving to implement in their lives and communities through Bahá’í-inspired educational programs. They will commemorate the centenary of His death online and in small face-to-face gatherings.

The legacy and impact of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Montreal lives on and this year reminds us that His words and teachings are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.

 

References : « ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Canada », publication of Bahá’í Canada

Canadian Bahá’íNews Service: https://news.bahai.ca/en/articles/centenary-of-the-ascension-of-abdu-l-baha-marked-at-the-baha-i-shrine.html

 

Montreal, November 7, 2021 – The birth of the Báb, the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith as well as that of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder, were celebrated with great joy in most neighbourhoods of the city. Numerous friends and seekers joined these celebrations with songs, stories, video clips and music.

In Saint-Laurent neighbourhood, the two above events were celebrated via videoconference in presence of many friends and seekers. The program included passages of Writings of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh accompanied with songs and stories from the life of the both Founders of the Faith. A video clip on the childhood of the Báb specially produced for the occasion was shown.   

In His Most Holy Book, Bahá’u’lláh wrote:

“All Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin days… Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Ordainer, the Omnisicient.”

Bahá’u’lláh asked the Baha’is to celebrate feasts of unity, joy and commemoration on each of these two special days, which makes them second only in importance in the Bahá’í calendar to the two “Most Great Festivals”—which commemorate the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh in the garden of Ridván in 1863 and the Declaration of the Báb in Shiraz in 1844.

Middle Eastern Bahá’ís have traditionally observed the Twin Holy Days in accordance with the Muslim lunar calendar, and celebrated them together on consecutive days, counting them as one two-day festival.

In that lunar Muslim calendar, however, the Twin Holy Days occur on different days every year, because each new month begins with the appearance of a new moon, rather than on a fixed solar calendar date. In relationship to that 365-day solar calendar, the Muslim calendar “loses” about eleven days every year—since twelve lunar cycles amount to approximately 354 days, which falls short of a full solar cycle.

Bahá’u’lláh was born two years before the Báb. In the Western solar calendar, their birthdays fall about three weeks apart. That means Bahá’u’lláh’s birthday (2 Muharram of the year 1233 A.H.)—fell on 12 November 1817 A.D., while the Báb’s birthday (1 Muharram of 1235 A.H.)—fell on 20 October 1819.

In the Western countries, Bahá’ís traditionally observed the two birthdays on November 12 and October 20, the historical dates fixed for these days on the solar calendar. But in 2014 a significant shift took place— Bahá’ís all over the world, including the Western countries, began celebrating these joyous holy days according to a new, unique melding of the solar and the lunar calendars. Instead of relying solely on either calendar, Bahá’ís now celebrate the Twin Holy Days eight lunar months from the Bahá’í New Year, which occurs on the vernal equinox of the solar year, usually March 21.

This year the Twin Holy Birthdays fall on November 6 and 7. Just as the Bahá’í teachings reconcile and unite the religions, so too do they unite and reconcile the world’s calendars, adapting the lunar and solar observances into one. The Universal House of Justice, the global governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, wrote:

“The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast.”

When Bahá’ís celebrate these happy occasions, everyone is welcome. At the worldwide Bahá’í gatherings for the birth of the Báb and the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, happiness and celebration prevail. Smiles will proliferate, music will play, friends will come together, children will laugh, warm fellowship will fill the air—and when possible, refreshments will definitely be served.

These Twin Holy Days signal a joyful, celebratory season in the Bahá’í year, when the Bahá’í community comes together to commemorate the advent of the two prophets of God, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, the twin founders of the Faith, and to hail the beginning of a new era in human unity.

Photos : The birth places of the  Báb in Shiráz and of Bahá'u'lláh in Tihrán -Archives of the Bahá'i World Centre

 

Montreal, 15 August 2021 - The Bahá’í Summer School of Quebec was held this year by teleconference from 13 to 14 August with the participation of about one hundred friends from across the province.

The main focus was on honoring 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the beloved Master, in a spiritually uplifting evening designed to refresh souls in these dark times.  The program was designed to be welcoming to all races and cultures of the world. The goal of touching the heart and mind of every soul, whether they have heard of the Faith or not, or whether they are involved in the community building process or not, was admirably achieved. Since spaces like this, to which we could invite all our friends, are rare, many friends and seekers were able to take advantage of the opportunity and join us.

The main themes of the summer school this year were:

- 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Ḥuqúqu'lláh (The Rights of God)

- A special program to honour the souls of deceased Aboriginal children

- The Tablets of the Divine Plan

- Presentation: "My name is 'Abdu'l-Bahá

- Artistic Evening: Tribute to 'Abdu'l-Bahá

- 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Divine Plan

- Several workshops of consultation on the topics of the Covenant and the Divine Plan also took place.

The presence of a member of the Continental Board of Counselors for the Americas, Mr. Ayafor T Ayafor, members of the Auxiliary Board serving in Quebec, members of the Bahá'í Council of Quebec, members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, and other Bahá'í institutions greatly enriched the quality of this particular summer school.

Member of the Continental Board of Counselors for the Americas, Mr. Ayafor T Ayafor

Montreal, October 28, 2021 – As part of McGill University’s Bicentenary Celebration, a 98 year old Bahá’í woman from African descent, was recognized for her contributions to music industry.  The exhibition was presented in September and was called “Texture, Rhythm, Rhyme”.

Unique, not only in Bahá’í history of Montreal but in also that of the city, Violet States (née Grant) recognized earlier in 2017, by the City of Montreal as one of the 20 women who contributed to build our city. In fact she has a collection of recognitions from various organizations in Verdun where she lived all her life, to Montreal and to McGill university. She graduated from this renowned education institution in 1968 as a concert pianist. She taught music and mathematics in several schools in Verdun and Montreal. She performed in an all-women orchestra in Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1943 as well as in Montreal. She was the first teacher in Montreal School Board who encouraged her students to open a Bank Saving Account for their future life. She negotiated with the Bank to allow young students to open a Bank Account, something which was not permitted in that time!

The relationship between the Bahá’í Community and McGill University goes back to the time of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Montreal in 1912. On September 3, 1912, the principal of McGill University, Dr. William Peterson visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at Windsor Hotel. In the discussion He had with this prominent educator, `Abdu’l-Bahá explained sundry Bahá’í principles adding:

“These are the aims of the people of Bahá’u’lláh. Do you not wish to do the same work? You should also strive that the real oneness of the world of humanity may be realised; that mankind may be free from prejudices and relieved from wars and conflicts. It is for this that we are striving.”

In His first day in Montreal ‘Abdu’l-Bahá accompanied by Architect Sutherland Maxwell visited the city passing through the streets around McGill university. He observed :

“As only material education is imparted and only natural philosophy is taught, these universities do not produce highly talented scholars. When both the natural and the divine philosophies are expounded, they will bring forth outstanding souls and evince great advancement. The reason for the success of the Greek schools was that they combined both natural and divine philosophies.”

Since the Montreal Bahá’í Shrine has been opened to the public at the occasion of the Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to Montreal in 2012, numerous McGill Faculty students have regularly visited this unique house in the Western Bahá’í World blessed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence for nine consecutive days. Students from as far as Kyoto University, Japan visited the Shrine and marvelled at the beauty of the building as well as its furniture and other decorative objects.

Violet State, now 98 years old and in perfect heath, is living in an Elderly Home Facility in St. Henri district of Montreal, in a different world unknown to the rest of us, in peace unaware of all recognitions the university and Montreal have showered upon her.

To see the McGill Art Exhibition featuring Violet States please go to the following link :

https://200.mcgill.ca/texture-rhythm-rhyme/

Please scroll down the page and click on MUSIC

 

Photos: Curtsy of McGill University Archives

‘Abdu’l-Bahá quotes from Mahmúd Diary

Montreal, July 9, 2021 - In Montreal and around the world, the Bahá’í Communities commemorated this Holy Day and holiday in different parts of the city by teleconference.

On July 9, 1850, at noon, approximately 10,000 people were gathered on the rooftops of buildings and houses around the courtyard of the Tabriz barracks in Persia.

The Báb and a young disciple were suspended by two ropes against a wall. The regiment of 750 Armenian Christian soldiers was arranged in three rows of 250 men each. They opened fire three times.

The shooting was so intense, Westerners report, that the sky was black and the courtyard was dark.

However, as the records of the British Foreign Office show, when the smoke cleared, the Báb had disappeared. His companion stood there unharmed, untouched by the bullets. The ropes to which they had both been tied were now only tattered.

The Báb was found in his cell, giving instructions to one of his secretaries. At daybreak, when the guards had come for him to be executed, He had told them that no "earthly power" could silence him until he had said what he had to say.

And when the guards returned for him, he calmly announced, "You may now perform your task."

So for the second time, the Báb and his young companion were brought before the firing squad. The Armenian soldiers refused to shoot a second time. So the task was given to a Muslim regiment. This time, the bodies of the two men were fused together.

In May 1844, Siyyid Ali Muhammad announced His mission in his hometown of Shiráz to one of the searching believers. He then took the title of Báb, a word that means "Gate" in Arabic.

Thereafter, the Bábíe Faith spread very rapidly in the country. The government and the clergy of Persia instantly joined forces to commit cruel misdeeds against the early followers of the Báb. Historians estimate the number of victims of these persecutions to be around 20,000.

Finally, under pressure from the clergy, the government gave the order to take the Báb to the barracks in Tabriz, Persia. They were convinced that this would stop the spread of the young Faith.

The Bahá’ís commemorate the Martyrdom of the Báb, a Holy Day and a holiday for the Bahá’ís around the world. The Báb is considered by Bahá’ís to be a Messenger of God. He is also the predecessor of Bahá'u'lláh, the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith.

* Photo from Archives of the Bahá'í World Centre - Location of the execution of the Báb

Montreal, September 21, 2021 - Each year, on this day, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world. The UN General Assembly has declared this day as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

The celebration of the International Day of Peace took place in Beaudet Park, also known as "Peace Park", under a bright sun, in a warm, friendly and respectful atmosphere in the presence of elected officials, including Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa and members of the Saint-Laurent Council, a dozen representatives of institutions and community organizations in the borough, the Saint-Laurent Intercultural Committee of the COSSL (Saint-Laurent Committee of Social Organizations), the Bahá’í Community of Montreal and several distinguished guests.  

The improvement of the sanitary conditions in Quebec having allowed the reopening of the schools and following sanitary instructions, the students of the schools of Saint-Laurent did not participate in the celebration. However, a message of Love and Unity was addressed to them by Gigi Vidal, the representative of the Intercultural Committee of Saint-Laurent and the Bahá'í Community of Montreal:

“Youth are our ambassadors and peace builders! Together you can change the world! Congratulations on your messages of commitment to peace! We wish you health and success in your studies.”

A message of deep gratitude for their courage and resilience was also expressed to all those who are still working tirelessly on the front line, the health care staff, the community organizations and the volunteers who continue to provide services to the population.

“May our relations with our fellow human beings always be marked by love and harmony, by the most friendly and fraternal spirit. So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the whole earth.”

Alan DeSousa, for whom the theme of peace, community safety and a green and sustainable economy are topics very close to his heart, stressed the importance of "starting with simple gestures such as maintaining good relations with our neighbours, keeping our street clean or offering help to an elderly person in our neighbourhood."

For almost two decades, our administration has been multiplying initiatives to become a leader in this field," added the borough's mayor, "and we are reaping the results with, for example, 310 housing units in 2020, almost all plan for LEED certification, an agent approved by the Urban Planning Advisory Committee. And what about the 657 new trees planted in 2020 alone! In Saint-Laurent, every little thing counts.”

The 2021 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world”. We invite you to join the efforts of the United Nations family as we focus on recovering better for a more equitable and peaceful world. Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover.

All those who contributed to the success of this ceremony were warmly thanked for their commitment and support in promoting peace: the children of the Bon courage Community Centre and Cari Saint-Laurent for their collective work, the students of the École internationale des apprenants for their poem and poster, the poet Ranim Natout of Cari, the team of Salua Said Abbas and Céline Goudreau for the peace mural and the Lions International Foundation for their Peace Poster Contest!

 

Montreal, June 6, 2021 – A very successful devotional gather was held in downtown to commemorate the loss of 215 children from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the home community of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

On May 27, 2021, a Press Release from the Office of the Chief  Rosanne Casimir confirmed an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School. She stated, “This past weekend, with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist, the stark truth of the preliminary findings came to light – the confirmation of the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”

“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” stated Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir. “Some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.” (1)

The devastating news that the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, are buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia has appalled the nation. This discovery is a reminder of a dark and recent period of Canada’s history, its legacy of suffering and the present-day trauma for its victims. (2)

To honor these young souls, their families and their community, all friends of the Montreal community were invited to offer special prayers over the next few weeks, privately and at devotional gatherings or vigils, and especially during the Festival of Light on June 3rd and 4th. Let us call upon these powerful spiritual forces, joining with others of many different backgrounds and beliefs...

We bow our heads and offer prayers for these souls and all souls who have suffered and continue to suffer from the trauma of this dark part of our country's history. (3)

In its letter to the 19-day Feast of Light, the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Montreal explains, “ a great wrong has come to light in these past days that has brought shock, grief and indignation to the entire country. We have been riveted by news of the discovery of the fate of the 215 children who died at one of the residential schools that separated children from their parents for over a hundred years. We fear the discovery of further tragic news of the same kind. A further example of how long hidden injustices are being revealed everywhere. We are reminded of Bahá’u’lláh’s remarkable statement that in this day, “If a speck of a jewel be lost and buried beneath a mountain of stones, and lie hidden beyond the seven seas, the Hand of Omnipotence will assuredly reveal it in this day. . .” It is a moment of great soul-searching for our country and of sympathy for native Canadians everywhere. A response is required. The National Spiritual Assembly has written to the Bahá’í community of Canada suggesting what that might be and we commend it to you tonight to read together and act on. We can only hope and pray that as this heartbreaking story unfolds it may lead to much greater appreciation of the extraordinary capacities of the first peoples and that their inherent spirituality will be seen as one of Canada’s greatest blessings. (4)

Over the course of the week, dozens of Devotional Gatherings will be held in neighborhoods across the city to commemorate this immense tragic loss that has shaken the country.

References:

(1) Press Release Office of Chief Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7

(2) Letter of the NSA of Canada dated May 31, 2021

(3) Letter of comité CEG addressed to the 19 Days Feast of Núr

(4) Letter June 5, 2021 from the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Montreal

 

Montreal, September 5, 2021 - The world of humanity has been revolutionized since this prophecy of Bahá’u’lláh: “From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.” Those powerful individual who ruled over humankind for centuries are no more! In another Tablet addressed to Shaykh Salmán, He said: “One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight.” Nevertheless, He confirms in another Tablet that “We do not wish the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof (the kings).” – this latter point has been materialized to some extent! – We had two monarchs who accepted the Faith in the 20th Century; the Queen Mary of Romania and the late King of Samoa Malietoa Tanumafili II.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá originally did not plan to travel to Montreal. It was the devoted and selfless services of May Maxwell in Paris and on the Canadian soil which acted as a strong magnet to draw Him to Montreal. His visit to Montreal constituted the most remarkable episode in the whole of His American tour. To begin with, the newspaper coverage of His visit was particularly noteworthy. From the first evening of His arrival to this city until the last day there were articles published continuously  in Montreal Daily Papers. A study of the articles published shows that they were free of journalistic quirks and extravagancies. The newspapers in Montreal excelled consistency in tone, range and substance far and above all the other newspapers in the United States and some of Europe!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ toured the downtown area on the first day of His visit to Montreal accompanied by the well-known architect Sutherland Maxwell. They passed in front of the Church of the Messiah on Sherbrooke street. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ said to his companions: “tomorrow from this church we will raise the Call of the Kingdom. It was on September first that He gave His first congregational address in that church. He ended His address by revealing a prayer which ends with these words : “… O God! Endear this assembly to Thyself. Sanctify these souls, and cast upon them the rays of Thy guidance. … O Lord! Make us brethren in Thy love, and cause us to be loving toward all Thy children. Confirm us in service to the world of humanity so that we may become the servants of Thy servants, that we may love all Thy creatures and become compassionate to all Thy people. ....”

The subject of the talk was printed in the newspapers and was subject of many days of public conversation! There were constant telephone calls made to Maxwell residence. Everybody wanted to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a great number of people turned up at Maxwell’s home. The living room, the dining room, the study, the entrance and even the staircase were full of visitors.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to them every evening and every afternoon, some days He gave three talks! In one occasion so forceful was His speech, so emphatic His movement that His head-cover fell off and He made no attempt to replace it. He went on speaking for another half hour. Then He walked through the thronged assemblage, upstairs to His room. People could not tear themselves away and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá came back and spoke once again. Even then, there were individuals begging to be received by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His room, and He received a good many. He decided that night to move to a hotel. The next day He took a suite of three rooms in Hotel Windsor. Nevertheless, the meetings continued particularly every evening at the Maxwell home. He had also other meetings with prominent people at the Hotel. There were two other important congregational meetings held in Montreal, one in Coronation Hall on September third and the next one on September 5th  at St. James Methodist church. Both events were reported by the Montreal Gazette the next day.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was not well enough to keep such a heavy schedule and the weather was not particularly pleasant either during His stay in Montreal. He caught cold that same evening of September 5th and that is why the city was fortunate enough to have Him for nine days otherwise He intended to leave by September 6th! He would occasionally, when finding a moment of leisure, go out for a drive or walk.

Once He went all alone and boarded a tram car which took him some way out of the city. Alighting from that one He rode in another which also had an outward route. He then took a taxi, but could not recall the name of the hotel. However He could indicate the right direction to the cabman who brought him to His hotel! Being amused by the incident, He related to His companions the story of a believer in Akká who was riding a donkey and lost his way not knowing where he was. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had told this man that whenever this happens he should cast off the donkey’s halter. The beast finding itself free, had directed its steps to their destination! In the same manner, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said laughingly, He had rightly directed His cabman!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had no formal schooling, a prisoner for forty years, unfamiliar with Western culture and languages, nevertheless, He had a reasonable knowledge of English but not enough to give public talks. He knew Persian, Arabic and Turkish in perfection. We are fortunate to have published Tablets, Prayers, Talks and correspondences of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in those language.

He left Montreal on September 9th for Buffalo, changed train in Toronto where He took a walk around the station while He was waiting for His train to Hamilton. There a newspaper man photographed Him at the station, the only photograph of His nine days stay in Canada!

When leaving Montreal, the Master gave to May Maxwell the shoes in which He had walked the streets of the city and all over the rooms in the Maxwell home. He also gave the family a Persian silk carpet which is now displayed in the Montreal Shrine, His home, as He had mentioned in a conversation with May Maxwell!

During the nine days of His visit in Montreal, some 2500 people heard ‘Abdu’l-Bahá speak or had direct contact with Him. Some 440,000 readers of Montreal Press, in English and French, also became aware of His Teachings.

References : - US Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Promulgation of the Universal Peace, Page 297

             G. Roland - Baluyzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá –

            Wilfrid Laurier University Press - Will C. Van den Hoonaard, The Origin of the Bahá’í Community of Canada 1898-1948

            Canada Publishing Trust - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Canada

            G. Roland - Mahmúd Zarqani, Mahmúd’s Diary

            UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Shoghi-Effendi, God Passes By

            UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust - Shoghi-Effendi, The Promised Day is come!

Montreal, May 29, 2012 - At the dawn of this day, the Bahá'í world as well as the Montreal community commemorated the ascension of the Divine Messenger for our Era, Bahá'u'lláh!

With the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh draws to a close a period which, in many ways, is unparalleled in the world's religious history. The first century of the Bahá'í Era had by now run half its course. An epoch, unsurpassed in its sublimity, its fecundity and duration by any previous Dispensation, and characterized, except for a short interval of three years, by half a century of continuous and progressive Revelation, had terminated. The Message proclaimed by The Báb had yielded its golden fruit. The most momentous, though not the most spectacular phase of the Heroic Age had ended. The Sun of Truth, the world's greatest Luminary, had risen in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, had broken through the clouds which enveloped it in Baghdad, had suffered a momentary eclipse whilst mounting to its zenith in Adrianople and had set finally in Akka, never to reappear ere the lapse of a full millenium. God's newborn Faith, the cynosure of all past Dispensations, had been fully and unreservedly proclaimed. The prophecies announcing its advent had been remarkably fulfilled. Its fundamental laws and cardinal principles, the warp and woof of the fabric of its future World Order, had been clearly enunciated. Its organic relation to, and its attitude towards, the religious systems which preceded it had been unmistakably defined. The primary institutions, within which an embryonic World Order was destined to mature, had been unassailably established. The Covenant designed to safeguard the unity and integrity of its world-embracing system had been irrevocably bequeathed to posterity. The promise of the unification of the whole human race, of the inauguration of the Most Great Peace, of the unfoldment of a world civilization, had been incontestably given. The dire warnings, foreshadowing catastrophes destined to befall kings, ecclesiastics, governments and peoples, as a prelude to so glorious a consummation, had been repeatedly uttered. The significant summons to the Chief Magistrates of the New World, forerunner of the Mission with which the North American continent was to be later invested, had been issued. The initial contact with a nation, a descendant of whose royal house was to espouse its Cause ere the expiry of the first Bahá'í century, had been established. The original impulse which, in the course of successive decades, has conferred, and will continue to confer, in the years to come, inestimable benefits of both spiritual and institutional significance upon God's holy mountain, overlooking the Most Great Prison, had been imparted. And finally, the first banners of a spiritual conquest which, ere the termination of that century, was to embrace no less than sixty countries in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres had been triumphantly planted.

In the vastness and diversity of its Holy Writ; in the number of its martyrs; in the valor of its champions; in the example set by its followers; in the condign punishment suffered by its adversaries; in the pervasiveness of its influence; in the incomparable heroism of its Herald; in the dazzling greatness of its Author; in the mysterious operation of its irresistible spirit; the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, now standing at the threshold of the sixth decade of its existence*, had amply demonstrated its capacity to forge ahead, indivisible and incorruptible, along the course traced for it by its Founder, and to display, before the gaze of successive generations, the signs and tokens of that celestial potency with which He Himself had so richly endowed it.

 

*1944, God Passes By, Shoghi-Effendi

Montreal, August 31, 2021 – The period between August 31 and September 9, marks 109th anniversary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey to Montreal and 178 years after His birth on May 23, 1844! A life, abundant, spacious and immeasurable which cannot adequately described.

He was eight years old when He was taken to the dungeon of Tehrán to see His Father under the weight of a heavy chain. From that tender age until the age of 77 when His work was done in this realm of existence, He lived a life of total self-abnegation, of unbroken, unqualified service to God and humankind.

His Father Bahá’u’lláh, bestowed upon Him many titles such as «the Greatest Branch», «the Mystery of God», «the Master» but once the responsibility of the leadership of the Bahá’í Community was given to Him, He chose to be known as «’Abdu’l-Bahá», the servant of Glory-Bahá.

Once an American scientist and President of Stanford University, Dr. David Starr Jordan (1851-1931), remarked that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked «the mystic path with practical feet, … He will surely unite the East and the West» and a Biblical scholar from Oxford University, Dr. T.K. Cheyne (1841-1915), spoke of Him as «the ambassador to Humanity».

Since His birth, the world of humanity has been revolutionized. Within a few hours after His birth, the first telegraphic message was sent from Washington to Baltimore containing this remarkable phrase from the Bible suggested to Samuel Morse by Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of the U.S. Commissioner of Patents. She opened the Bible apparently and saw the following sentence from Numbers 23:23, «Behold, What hath God wrought!». This was the message which was sent across continent for the first time in history of telecommunications!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was 67 years old when He undertook His two and a half years journey to Europe and North America on August 1910. He was not in good health, a victim of consumption from early age, He had to stay longer than He had planned, in cities such as Paris and Montreal, to recuperate. He was a prisoner and exile practically all His life nevertheless the moment He gained His freedom following the Turkish revolution in July 1908, He decided to carry the Message of His Father to the West.

Edward G. Brown was the first person to bring the Bahá’í Faith to the attention of Americans during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh, then a Syrian Christian Physician by the name of Ibrahim Khayr’ulláh who subsequently became a Bahá’í and migrated to the United States propagated the Faith there. Ibrahim arrived at New York in December 1892 and moved to Chicago in February 1894 where the name of Bahá’u’lláh mentioned during the first Parliament of Religions in September 1898. The first person of Christian background who accepted the Message in North America was Thornton Chase who met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in prison of Akká. In his remarkable book «In Galilee», Thornton Chase writes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: «He is the Master! He is the Christ-Spirit of this great age, He is the Anointed One! The Appointed of His Father, that Father was the Greatest Manifestation of God – Bahá’u’lláh. He is the Centre of the Covenant; the healer and satisfier of longing hearts! The king of Servitude to Humanity!».

Thornton Chase passed away when the Master reached the shores of Pacific in 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a short talk at the gravesite in Inglewood Cemetery, Los Angeles and mentioned that  Thornton Chase was the first American Bahá’í whose services will ever be remembered in the future. He advised the friends to visit his grave and lay flowers on behalf of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s steps touched the North American shores, there were only a handful of Bahá’ís in the continent among them the young May Ellis Boles who became a Bahá’í in Paris.

Kate Cowan Ives (1863-1927), originally from Newfoundland was the first woman in the Occident to accept the Bahá’í Faith and remain steadfast in her new found religion. The first Canadian Bahá’í however, was Edith Magee and her mother Esther Annie from London, Ontario who attended the first Parliament of Religions in September 1898. She managed to bring to the Faith many members of her family and remain active in their locality.

Photo: 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Green Acre with His translator and His diarist Mahmúd just before leaving for Montreal.

…. To be continued

 

 

Bahá'í Center

 

177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 514-849-0753

Click here for map and hours

 

 

Montreal Shrine

 

1548, av des Pins O, Montreal
Phone: 514-568-2104

Click here for map and hours

 

S5 Box